Men of the Lagos State Police Command have rescued 19 pregnant young women and four children during raids on four baby factories in the state.
During the raids, two suspects, Happiness Ukwuoma and Sherifat Ipeya, were arrested; while the principal suspect, one Madam Oluchi, absconded after she got wind of the raids.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said in a statement on Sunday that a manhunt had been launched for Oluchi, adding that the suspects were operating as nurses at the baby factories despite not having formal medical training.
He stated that Oluchi and her accomplices usually tricked their victims from different states of the federation with promises of employment opportunities in Lagos, but abduct them for the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling their babies.
Elkana said, “On Thursday, September 19, 2019, around 4pm, acting on the strength of information from a reliable source, detectives from the Isheri Osun Police Station, led by the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Chike Ibe, stormed a building at No. 14, Adisa Street, Ayanwale area, Ikotun, Lagos, suspected to be used for child trafficking.
“Nineteen pregnant women from the ages of 15 to 28 were rescued and four kids were also rescued.
“They were all rescued from four different locations – No. 32, Owosho Street, Governor Road, Ikotun; No. 29, Olugbeyohun Street, Olakunle bus stop, Abaranje; No. 4/6, Anomo Street, Abaranje; and No. 14, Adisa Street, Ayanwale area, Ikotun.
“The pregnant women were brought in from Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Abia and Imo states.
“Two suspects, Happiness Ukwuoma, 40; and Sherifat Ipeya, 54, were arrested in connection with the case.
The suspects are natives of Imo and Lagos states and did not receive formal medical training, but operated as nurses.
“The Command has launched a manhunt for the principal suspect, Madam Oluchi, from Mbano, Imo State. She is a mother of five.
“The young women were tricked with employment as domestic workers in Lagos and abducted by the suspects for the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling their babies for between N300,000 and N500,000, depending on the sex.”
Elkana stated that the state Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, had visited the scene and ordered the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department to take over the case, adding that the Command had been working with other agencies and stakeholders to rehabilitate and resettle the pregnant women and the babies.
He added that investigation was ongoing and the suspects would be charged to court.
In another development, two suspected cult leaders, Osonye Henrise and Babatunde Fadairo, have been arrested for terrorising the Bariga area of the state.
Elkana said Henrise was arrested for attempting to kill one Bosiga, while Fadairo was apprehended for leading his gang to stone one Ahmed Saul to death at the New Garage area of Bariga, adding that the suspects would be charged.
He stated, “On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, around 11.30pm, one Osonye Henrise, 24, an Aiye Confraternity kingpin, was arrested by detectives from the Bariga Police Station on Idumota Church Street, Bariga, for attempting to kill one Bosiga on the same date on Araromi Street, Bariga. The suspect is believed to be the second in command to one Adekunle Adesanya, aka E don tey, who was killed on September, 24, 2019, on Edo Evans Street, Bariga. Investigation is ongoing and the suspect will be charged.
“On Thursday, September 26, 2019, around 5.15am, one Babatunde Fadairo, 22, was arrested by detectives from the Bariga Police Station. The suspect was alleged to have led five others to kill one Ahmed Saul, 32, with stones at the New Garage area. The suspect is a known Eiye Confraternity member, while the deceased was an Aiye Confraternity member. Investigation is ongoing and the suspect will soon be charged.”